120 gallon high-tech SCA Starphire build (now running!) - The Planted Tank Forum
 47Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-15-2018, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
AdamRT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: NYC suburbs
Posts: 121
120 gallon high-tech SCA Starphire build (now running!)

I was finally contacted by the freight company who confirmed delivery of my new 120 gallon starphire aquarium from SCA for next Tuesday, so I figured Iíd start my build thread!


Iíve been stockpiling equipment and scaping materials for the better part of a year and probably have 2-3xís as much stuff as I actually need. Iíd like to start off the journal with a list of equipment, but Iím still not sure what kind of plants Iím going to put in this tank and Iíve got more lighting and co2 options than I can remember, so Iíll begin with a list of equipment I know I am going to use:


Tank- sca 120 gal starphire with center overflow 4x2x2
Stand- ďAmerican GreyĒ hardwood 36Ē
Canopy- ďAmerican GreyĒ hardwood 10Ē


Filter(s)- fluval fx6 filled with seachem matrix, fluval 306 for carbon/chemical filtration (and to run co2 reactor if I go that route)
UV sterilizer- 36w in line pond sterilizer (just started running a uvs on a smaller tank and am now a convert)


Lighting- 2 48Ē Reefbar Pro LEDs in 6500k with sunsetters, 4x54 oddysea t5 with built in timer- will run 2 bluemax 5900k 96 cri bulbs, one pro series bloom by Agromax (heavy red blend of 630nm and 660nm) and either a pure par pro series bulb (mix of red and blue), or a 10000k blue veg pro series. I also have an option to scrap the t5ís all together and go with 4 60cm chihiros rgbís with the reefbar pros (like I said I spent way too much time amassing equipment for this build)


Heater- ebo-Jager 300w with independent controller (or reef link if I set that up).


Flow/co2- ice cap 3k gyre (prolly around 20%) if I go with slower growing plants, the plan is to use an aquario neo diffuser under the gyre as opposed to a reactor for co2 diffusion. With lower light and slower growing plants (anubias, buces, lagenandra, ferns, etc) I think the ceramic diffuser under the gyre should be sufficient. Iím going to try something a little different with this tank by letting the co2 run 24/7. The reduction in co2 at night will come from the ramping down or turning off of the gyre, which should allow more co2 to gas off. I know this is a little wasteful, but I want to see if it will result in a more stable ph throughout the 24 hour day. I do have a reeflink controller I can use to run the co2, but My goal is to limit the equipment needed for this tank so I do not have to worry about maintaining probes or having to recalibrate/replace them. If I go with faster growing plants, Iíll bite the bullet and plumb in a reactor.


Hardscape materials: 6 large bags of marfied Black og controsoil, about 100 lbs of black lava rock in a variety of sizes from about 2Ē all that way up to 18Ē (big shot out to Matt at Buceplant.com for hooking me up with what was probably the last 6 bags of commercially available controsoil in the country and some dank lava rock! These guys really went out of their way to get me the materials I wanted for this scape.). Also have a 45gal garbage can filled to the brim with ghostwood and manzanita branches that have been soaking for the last three weeks and are ready to go. I did not want my scape to be determined by what I donít have enough of, so I got way too much of everything. Will use leftover material to rescape other tanks or just sell it off.


My plan is to go with a concave style layout using the lava rock to build to big walls extending out from the rear corners. These areas will be backfilled with lava rock rubble and controsoil with some lotus/Lillies along with some other partially emerging bog plants (maybe mosaic ludwigia?) to give the impression of a shoreline. This was a popular composition with takashi amano later in his career and I really like the different zones it creates for different kinds of plants, especially when driftwood is used to simulate roots protruding from the bank. Depending on how much controsoil I have left, I may Carpet the lower section in the middle and front sides of the tank with a mix of Monte Carlo, hydrocoytle, and DHG Belem, all of which I have currently growing in other tanks I can steal from. Depending on how much light and co2 I go with, I may just stick to Colorado sand with some accents along the base of the wall and keep the growth limited to the wood, stone, and areas behind the wall. More to come on that.


Livestock- while I am going to scape this tank fairly aggressively, this will be a fish tank first and foremost, so my plant choices will largely be based on creating a natural and aesthetically pleasing back drop for the fish I plan on stocking. Hereís the plan as of today (subject to availability in the next 2-3 months)


20-25- hyphessobrycon margitae or bleeding blue tetras (alternative is hyphessobrycon peruvianus, or blue loreto tetra)


20-25- hemigrammus rubrostriatus or red stripe tetras (alternative is hemigrammus coerelus or hyphessobrycon amapaenis)


25-35- cardinal tetras (no alternative for these guys)


I currently have 5 stictus tetras in another tank that will most likely end up in here as well.


Depending on availability, I may also go with 10-15 h. Melanistichos, h. Hexastichos, h. Wadai, or lapis tetras (alternative will be Kerri tetras or emperors). At $17 to $20 a piece itís a big if at this point.


The stock list will be rounded out with 60 amano shrimp, 50 or so Rcs, a nice group of cories, hatchets, and pencils and a pair or harem of dwarf cichlids. I may deviate from the South American theme to go with some scarlet badis or dwarf gouramis, but weíll see.


Thatís it for now, but Iíll try to get some equipment and scape material photos added over the weekend, and will definitely be recording the build so Iíll be posting a link to those videos as theyíre made. A large hi tec aquascape with uncommon tetras has been a long term dream of mine, so Iím really excited about this and hope youíll follow along on what should be a fun and exciting build!
Greggz, Greggz, The Dude1 and 1 others like this.

Last edited by AdamRT; 08-23-2018 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Spelling
AdamRT is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
AdamRT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: NYC suburbs
Posts: 121
Today is the day! Tank will be here sometime between 10am and 4pm... any suggestions on receiving tank via freight? Unfortunately with such a long delivery window, I couldnít lock down any help getting it inside so Iím hoping a crisp $50 bill will motivate the driver to help me out since it doesnít have to be moved too far.

Iíd love to hear othersí experiences with receiving a tank via freight delivery! Iíll post some pics once itís here... so excited!!!
The Dude1 and The Dude1 like this.

Experience: worked in fishroom of Eddies Aquarium in Albany all through college, 20 years of keeping reef tanks, planted tanks, and dart frog vivariums.

Current/in-progress tanks: 20 gallon hi tech tank in office, 120 gallon nature/tetra aquarium at home.


Philosophy: work with what youíve got, and make choices based on the conditions that easiest for you to maintain over time.
AdamRT is offline  
post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 01:34 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Axelrodi202's Avatar
 
PTrader: (37/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Morris County, NJ
Posts: 3,328
I never had a tank delivered by freight so can't comment there. But my main tank is a 120 gallon of the same dimensions of yours.

Some suggestions:
1. Two big canisters is plenty of flow for your tank. If you add on an extra pump you're just going to blow things around (see later in post for CO2 suggestions), even if set on low.
2. Lighting - do yourself a favor and keep the T5s. If anything scrap the LEDs. Most LEDs are very directional (think of it like a spotlight), which leads to big shading problems in a deep tank like a 120. I struggled to get the results I wanted in terms of plant colors and densities with various LEDs over the years and switching to T5 has made things much easier.
3. CO2 - Keep it simple. In-tank diffuser, in a spot in the tank that's across from the filter outflows. Use a timer to match it to the lights. Better to have CO2 off at night then try to maintain a stable pH. Natural waters also vary in pH over the day due to photosynthesis, decomposition, etc. I have sensitive livestock like tiger shrimps and myersi hatchetfish and they do not bat an eye at pH swings from CO2. Diffuser is superior over the reactor because of benefits from CO2 mist in the tank.
4. Substrate - use some lava rock rubble (if you don't have any it's sold for potting mixes at garden stores) as a base layer under the soil. 6 bags of soil is going to give you a moderate slope in a 120, if you use this trick. This is like what ADA does with power sand.
5. Stocking - I would consider a larger quantity of individuals for each species. For example I find about 50 fish is a good number of green neon tetras in my 120. I think definitely once you get above 30 or so individuals, the behavior becomes much more interesting for the schooling types.
6. Shrimps - All those tetras can be shrimp predators, especially if you let them get hungry. Cardinals can tear apart cherry shrimp like a pack of wolves. So I would highly prioritize adding a large number of cherry shrimp from the start, planting densely, and allowing the population to establish for several months before adding fish (except maybe hatchetfish, which aren't going to bother shrimps). Dwarf cichlids are likely going to be hard to keep alongside cherry shrimps. Some individuals have a seek and destroy mentality, while others won't go out of their way to hunt them.
Greggz, Greggz, The Dude1 and 1 others like this.

O_o
/ /_______________________________
| BWAAAH IMA FIRIHN MA LAZER!!!!!!!!!
\_\
Axelrodi202 is offline  
 
post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 01:53 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Greggz's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Novi, MI
Posts: 4,920
Sounds like a build with loads of potential.
Some good suggestions from Axelrodi202 above.

Good luck with everything, I hope all goes smoothly for you. Subscribed and looking forward to following along.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
---
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
---
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Greggz is offline  
post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 02:53 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
Grobbins48's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1,935
Sounds like an awesome tank! Subscribed!
The Dude1 and The Dude1 like this.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Grobbins48 is offline  
post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 04:58 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Jeff5614's Avatar
 
PTrader: (52/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: TN
Posts: 3,605
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamRT View Post
Today is the day! Tank will be here sometime between 10am and 4pm... any suggestions on receiving tank via freight? Unfortunately with such a long delivery window, I couldn’t lock down any help getting it inside so I’m hoping a crisp $50 bill will motivate the driver to help me out since it doesn’t have to be moved too far.

I’d love to hear others’ experiences with receiving a tank via freight delivery! I’ll post some pics once it’s here... so excited!!!
Be pleasant with the driver. I had a tank delivered by freight that just included curbside delivery. I helped him get it off the gate and onto the dolly and then asked if he would mind bringing into the house. He hesitated and said he wasn't supposed to and asked if stairs were involved. I told him I was just asking for straight into the foyer and he said no problem. Of course then I had to round up one of our boys to help me move it onto the stand. A rimless tank is surprisingly heavier than it's rimmed counterpart.
The Dude1 and The Dude1 like this.
Jeff5614 is offline  
post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 05:10 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1,740
I can't see the pics.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
ChrisX is offline  
post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 05:18 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: WI
Posts: 11,692
Can't wait for transparent aluminum..
Glass is freaking heavy..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
jeffkrol is online now  
post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 05:29 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Jeff5614's Avatar
 
PTrader: (52/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: TN
Posts: 3,605
Jeff5614 is offline  
post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 09:12 PM
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Manhattan Beach CA
Posts: 2
Good luck. Sounds like an exciting build. Too much equipment?????? NEVER
shippingexpert is offline  
post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
AdamRT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: NYC suburbs
Posts: 121
Thanks for all of the advice! The tank arrived without issue, although the driver was less than cooperative... thankfully my landscapers Happened to show up as the tank was being delivered, and those guys are always super helpful. I ended up giving them each $50 for helping me get everything unpacked and inside. They even helped me shim it!

Itís funny, even though I know the measurements of the tank, it looks way bigger than I was expecting.



Overall, I am very happy with it. The tank is really solid and sca threw in a bunch of extra plumbing parts that should make the set up a breeze. Only downside is the 2Ē eurobrace is going to prevent me from running the second filter full time.

Since Iíll only be running the FX6 and itíll have the uv plumbed in, the flow will be somewhat reduced so I am going to at least try to run the gyre to distribute co2. Itís got a 12Ē wide flow pattern so at 10-20% I donít think itíll be overkill-especially with the scape Iím planning. Once the plants fill in, I think the ability to ramp up the flow will come in handy.

As far as the lights go, I specifically got the reef bar pros to avoid shading- theyíre each single strips of about 48 3w epiís in 6500k. The sun setter controls allow me to program a sunrise and sunset and ramp from 1-100%. Itís the reverse of what most people do, but the ledís are going to be the primary light source and the t5ís are going to be used to add color. Iíve got two bluemax 96 cri 5900kís that have done great on my 20 gal. One will be paired with a super red bulb and the other with a bluish 10k bulb. For most of the day only 2 bulbs will be going- blue in the am, red in the pm, with the leds and bluemax bulbs to balance it out.

Gonna plumb it in this weekend. Time to start making ro water! More pics to come!
Greggz, Greggz, The Dude1 and 1 others like this.

Experience: worked in fishroom of Eddies Aquarium in Albany all through college, 20 years of keeping reef tanks, planted tanks, and dart frog vivariums.

Current/in-progress tanks: 20 gallon hi tech tank in office, 120 gallon nature/tetra aquarium at home.


Philosophy: work with what youíve got, and make choices based on the conditions that easiest for you to maintain over time.

Last edited by AdamRT; 06-19-2018 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Spelling
AdamRT is offline  
post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
AdamRT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: NYC suburbs
Posts: 121


This is one of the showpiece Black lava rocks from buceplant.com after I spent some time chiseling our all the pumicy looking stuff. Itís about 18x13 and will be the centerpiece of the terraced wall going in the back left corner. Itís about 18lbs of the 100 or lbs of rock Iíve got to work with. Anything not chosen for the wall will be busted up to use as base layer and fill.

More to come!
Greggz, Greggz, The Dude1 and 1 others like this.

Experience: worked in fishroom of Eddies Aquarium in Albany all through college, 20 years of keeping reef tanks, planted tanks, and dart frog vivariums.

Current/in-progress tanks: 20 gallon hi tech tank in office, 120 gallon nature/tetra aquarium at home.


Philosophy: work with what youíve got, and make choices based on the conditions that easiest for you to maintain over time.
AdamRT is offline  
post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 12:51 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,228
Gorgeous tank and furniture! This is really going to be breathtaking. Those blue bleeding hearts are stunning. I have to agree with Axelrodi202. Small groups of several species will look like a simple mish mash. I got to about 300 Neons before i was happy with the look as i wanted them to stand out. I had groups of 25 of black phantoms, lemon, and Pristilla tetras and for those groups it just looked like random fish. I know a big group of blue bleeding hearts is a costly proposition. Better to think about it beforehand than spend the cash on them and not get the look you were hoping for. A group of 50 blue bleeding hearts and 50 cardinals would look cohesive I think.

Twin high tech 75's -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
The Dude1 is offline  
post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
AdamRT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: NYC suburbs
Posts: 121
Yeah I might tweak the numbers a little, but when I had 30 carnidnals in my 90 they schooled beautifully but when I added 20 more they stopped schooling and just kinda hung around all over. There was some of that with the smaller group but the completely stopped massing together once there was 50 in the tank. What Iíd really like to see is three distinct groups mobbing around the tank and 30-40 of each seemed like a good number. Iíve never kept h. Margitae, but the blue loreto tetras Iíve had always stuck together and from what Iíve heard the h. Rubrostriatus act a lot like glowlight tetras, so maybe Iíll start with 30-40 of each and if they stick together Iíll add the cardinals. If they arenít schooling, Iíll just beef up the numbers of those two species and add like 20 blood fins or rummynose since I know theyíll stick together and call it a day.

I agree that having 10 of this and 8 of that ends up looking like a hodge podge, but I think 2-3 groups of 30-40 very distinct looking tetras will have a different effect. I think the flow in the tank has an impact on this too- when I added the uv sterilizer to my 20 gal, the water was churning at first, but all of the fish started schooling tighter than I had ever seen. They seem to really enjoy swimming in the current, especially the bloodfins, so my hope is that have a broad directional flow pattern in the tank will encourage tighter schooling.

Iíd rather keep the fish numbers down so Their movements are noticeable even if that means having a decent amount of empty space in the tank. Iíve spent a lot of time watching tetras in their natural environment, and I canít think of a time I ever saw more than 30-40 cardinals or black neons together, so Iíd like to stick to a natural presentation even if I have to limit myself to 1-2 main species. I can always add hatchets and corries to round things out. Weíll see though, trying out different fish combos/numbers is half the fun! If something doesnít work, itís just a good excuse to get another tank haha

Experience: worked in fishroom of Eddies Aquarium in Albany all through college, 20 years of keeping reef tanks, planted tanks, and dart frog vivariums.

Current/in-progress tanks: 20 gallon hi tech tank in office, 120 gallon nature/tetra aquarium at home.


Philosophy: work with what youíve got, and make choices based on the conditions that easiest for you to maintain over time.
AdamRT is offline  
post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
AdamRT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: NYC suburbs
Posts: 121
Put together the plant list for this tank last night. I may need to make some adjustments based on availability, but itís a start:

Epiphytes/lithophytes:

Java fern trident
Java fern narrow leaf
Java fern mini

Bolbitis asiatica (from 20 gal)
Bolbitis difformis (from 20 gal)

Bucephalandra green wavy
Buce brownie ghost
Buce mini coin

Anubias nana petite
Anubias coffefolia
Anubias hastafolia

Moss:

Mini Christmas (from 20 gal)
Buce Moss
Hawaiian waterfall
China moss
Weeping moss
Pelia

Carpet:

Monte Carlo (from 20 gal)
Japanese clover (from 20 gal)
Rotala Vietnam híra
Rotala Mexicana gois
Hygrophila tiger
DHG Belem (from 20 gal)

Stems/bog plants:

Ludwigia ovalis pink & red (from 20 gal)
Ludwigia colorata
Ludwigia white (if I can find)
Ludwigia senegalensis
Hygrophila pinnatifada (from 20 gal)
Hygrophila compacta
Blyxa japonica
True rotala indica (bonsai)
Rotala mini butterfly
Rotala walichii
Purple bamboo (bog)
Mosaic ludwigia (bog)
Dwarf tiger lotus (bog)

Aside from the buce and some of the less common ludwigia and moss, Iíve kept all of these plants before and have done well with them. I am sure the final stock list will not match perfectly, but I can source pretty much everything on my list and have begun reaching out to vendors. My goal is to keep the initial plant purchase under $500 (I budgeted $500 for plants and $500 for fish, so the less I spend on plants the more I can put in to the fish). Thankfully Iíve got a lot of this stuff already and have some friends who are going to contribute as well, so Iíve already got about half the list covered.

Iíd love to source the rest from forum members, so if you sell plants and can fill a good chunk of this list or any of the harder to find stuff, please let me know! My goal is to take advantage of the higher light naturally found higher up in the tank and lower light towards the bottom (hence the terraced scape) and will utilizing the rockwork and driftwood to create strategic shadowed areas and still areas at the surface. If you search any of Amanos tanks utilizing Koke stone and lava rock, they are the inspiration for the layout and use of bog plants (too bad I canít just slap down a bunch of wabi kusa and call it a day like he did, but thatís ok).

The ghostwood and manzanita I am using is pretty wide and the ghostwood in particular makes a great surface for growing moss and rooting plants like buce- in any case, there you have it. Tank is going to plumbed in over the weekend (assuming the uv sterilizer arrives in time) and hardscape should be in by end of day on Sunday. I am dry fitting the lava rock and crafting egg crate platforms today through Friday so they should be ďdrop in readyĒ once tank is plumbed. Plan is to fill it to check plumbing work, then pump water out in to 3 55 gallon holding drums (later to be used for ro) so I can raise the water level accordingly as I scape and add plants. Iíve never attempted setting up a tank this big on my own, so itís a little intimidating. Iíve done everything thatís needed to get things up and running at one point or another so itís just a matter of putting it all together in this build, getting the order right, and hoping it all works out.... fingers crossed!

Experience: worked in fishroom of Eddies Aquarium in Albany all through college, 20 years of keeping reef tanks, planted tanks, and dart frog vivariums.

Current/in-progress tanks: 20 gallon hi tech tank in office, 120 gallon nature/tetra aquarium at home.


Philosophy: work with what youíve got, and make choices based on the conditions that easiest for you to maintain over time.

Last edited by AdamRT; 06-20-2018 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Spelling
AdamRT is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome